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U.S. tops El Salvador, advances to Gold Cup semifinals

BALTIMORE -- The United States booked a spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals for the 11th time in 12 attempts, recording a 5-1 victory over El Salvador in the quarterfinals at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

Landon Donovan scored one goal and set up three others in the victory. Clarence Goodson and Joe Corona scored in the first half for the U.S., while E.J. Johnson, Mix Diskerud and Donovan tallied after the interval.

The Americans advanced to the semifinals in Arlington, Texas, on Wednesday, when it will face the winner of the Costa Rica-Honduras match in the second game of the doubleheader.

Striker Rodolfo Zelaya, who scored all of El Salvador's four goals in the competition, converted a penalty kick late in the opening half.

The U.S. took a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute. Michael Parkhurst sent a ball into the box for Donovan, who delivered it to Goodson. The veteran defender then slotted the ball past goalkeeper Dagoberto Portillo for his third career Gold Cup goal.

Eight minutes later, the Americans doubled their advantage on Corona's goal as the midfielder received a pass at the top of the box, took a couple of steps and powered a shot into the lower left corner for his second goal in this Gold Cup.

 The Salvadorans, however, would not go down without a fight and they managed to close the gap to 2-1 in the 39th minute on Zelaya's penalty kick. The El Salvador striker ran parallel to the goal at the top of the penalty area, managing to avoid three U.S. defenders, before captain DaMarcus Beasley tripped him on the right side of the box.

 A minute later, Zelaya chipped his shot into the right corner past goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

Portillo made three big saves within a three-minute span to keep his side in the match, denying Corona twice (35’, 37’) and Donovan once (36’).

Only 14 seconds after he came on for Chris Wondolowski, Johnson extended the Americans' lead to 3-1. Jose Francisco Torres tapped a short corner kick to Donovan, who curled the ball into the area for Johnson to head powerfully past Portillo in the 60th minute. It was Johnson's 16th international goal.

Donovan got on the score sheet in the 78th minute, running onto a feed from Johnson and beating Jose Mardoqueo Henriquez.  He then forced Portillo to commit himself before knocking the ball into an open net and extending his Gold Cup scoring record to 16 goals.

The LA Galaxy star went back to being a playmaker by setting up Diskerud with a chip pass from the right side of the area.  The 22-year-old midfielder slotted home for a 5-1 advantage with six minutes remaining in regulation.

 

 
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